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  • Dr.Pragya Suman

Poets: Scandal happens in the soul

“Poets” by Vik Shirley is a postcard-shaped pamphlet, mainly consisting of single lines; it looks like a monostich micro album. Going through, it appears like a humming bee coming and leaving another disjointed trail, a startling fragment baked in its integrity. They are not mere lines that showcase, but they are impressively subtle. Sex, love, and seductions have been the driving force of the muse box since ancient times. In the post-Freudian era, they have begun to be judged on the psychoanalytic scalpel in surgical lighthead.

The book’s opening starts with the quotes of Charles Simic, where he talks about ancient Roman poets Ovid and Catullus. Catullus wrote personal poems, mostly related to love, family, and seductions. Catullus writes about contradictions and the agony of infatuation–

Love’s contradictions:

I hate and love. If you ask me to explain

The contradiction,

I can’t, but I can feel it, and the pain

Is crucifixion.

For a poet, seduction and crucifixion could be synonymous. The dream of decoys! If not lesser than spirituality, then indeed on par, the undertow of creative cycles.

Sex and seductions have always been an essential topic in the mythology of varied civilizations, even though they have pervaded the ethereal atoms. In Hindu mythology, Lord Shiva's penis embedded in Goddess Vagina is a most sacred object for devotees and a source of salvation.

TS Eliot says the mind is a catalyst which remains untouched by creativity; waves emerge here and transcend in the invention, leaving behind the mind untarnished. Eliot’s theory twirled the literature at a whole angle, but the post-Freud era has raised question marks on many conventional and modern critical approaches. Catalytic waves do descend the body from the mind also. Creativity is hot, and it could be seen in Vincent Van Gogh’s painting “Starry Night,” where every nook and crook of the portrait is enwrapped in swirling waves. Doesn’t it reflect Vincent Van Gogh’s creative hot waves?

Art seeks complete freedom, which could be considered a psychotic trait in mundane eyes. The ligaments between pervasive muse complex and hot waves are not straight and simple, but they are hurtling waves from toe to head, igniting the infinite also. In the post-Freudian era, we can call the subconscious ink pot disembosomes, an ocean of creative wavelets. Psychotic automatism and surrealism are in the mainstream now.

Though pre-Freud Walt Whitman was acquainted with it, he has sung, “I celebrate my body.”

Wading through this book, a visual panorama fixed in my mind– “knife slicing out the baked bread dough, letting the square slices stacked singularly on separate pages, one by one.”

Just give a quick glimpse upon them–

Poets hell bent on the pursuit of pleasure in dark time,

White exists, due to dark. Common folks talk about white while God’s distorted creatures poets dive in dark, subconscious ocean.

Poets feeding on other poets and their hot and tasty poems.

They do that to conserve their dissipating energy, to make it in a vicious circle.

In one place she writes “poets getting addicted to other poets”

They are addicts because creativity seeks an intensive life. Sex and drugs are like sedatives to rescue them to alleviate them from the black forest, claws, and the dark domes where they have pushed their paws.

poets being undeniably fuckable

Poets being ostracised for having too large a penis, other poets being insanely jealous.

Unmarried poets having inappropriate feelings for married poets and vice versa.

Poets alternately crying and masturbating, so that both activities are engaged in some kind of a tag team.

When scandal happens in the soul, the poet becomes seductive, and these types of lines emerge in the poetic mind.

If you want to know, then go and look for this book!

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Vik Shirley's chapbook Corpses (Sublunary Editions) was published in 2020. Her collection The Continued Closure of the Blue Door (HVTN Press), her book of photo-poetry Disrupted Blue and other poems on Polaroid (Hesterglock Press), and her pamphlet Grotesquerie for the Apocalypse (Beir Bua Press) were published in 2021. Her work has appeared in such places as Poetry London, The Rialto, Magma, 3am Magazine, Shearsman and Tentacular. She edits Mercurius magazine's 'Surreal-Absurd', is Associate Editor of Sublunary Editions, and is currently studying for a PhD in Dark Humor and the Surreal at the University of Birmingham.


Dr. Pragya Suman is a doctor by profession and a writer by passion. Her poetries, reviews, and fiction have been published in more than fifty magazines and anthologies, like Beir Bua Journal, Rock pebbles pebbles Journal, 3 AM Magazine, Impspired magazine, Arcs prose poetry magazine, Full house literary Journal, flight of the Dragonfly, Indian Periodical Journal, The World of Myth Magazine, The Pine Cone Review, Bengaluru review, etc. She has achieved the certificate of appreciation from Gujarat Sahitya Academy, Indian Government. She won the Gideon poetry prize summer of 2020. Her debut book Lost Mother was published in 2020, and her second book Photonic Postcard is a collection of Prose Poems. In 2022, she won the poet of the year award, Ukiyoto Publishing, Ontario, for the book Photonic Postcard.

Dr. Pragya Suman is the founding editor of Arc Magazine.

She is currently a Senior Resident in the Shri Krishna Medical College, Muzaffarpur.

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